By: Dan Weiman for Diabetes1
The emergence of wireless technology has become part of our daily lives, for better or for worse. Whether it is pay-as-you go phones, text messaging, or the seemingly limitless possibilities of BlackBerries and iPhones, mobile technology has become a part of our culture, and thus is spreading into new fields.
While it may seem somewhat unlikely, wireless technology is starting to play a role in diabetes treatment. Several companies, backed by healthcare professionals, are getting into the diabetes field by recognizing text messaging as a way to help adolescents effectively treat their condition.
The most common use of mobile technology for diabetes treatment is via text message. If a user of the service goes too long without checking their blood sugar levels, they receive a text message reminding them to check. While one 14 year old, Glenn Leinart, felt that he may be too old for the technology, he acknowledged that the technology is still very useful, stating: “I've gone to the WakeMed Hospital summer camp and I know those little kids have high levels and they don't know to monitor it too well yet.”
While some companies have started programs featuring text reminders, questions remain as to the actual effectiveness of the technology: Will people with diabetes actually pay attention to the alerts? One suggestion for dealing with this issue is to use technological positive reinforcement. Dr. Mark Piehl, who is involved with a company developing this technology, describes how positive reinforcement could work: "I think it would be fantastic to see if children would respond any differently to a reward system where testing a certain amount of times a day would earn you a song download, or keeping your levels within range would allow you access to a certain game."
The estimated cost of the technology would be a fee of $1 per day, although deals have not yet been made with all wireless providers and health insurance companies, so it is hard to say if the cost will fluctuate. However, the technology certainly appears to be part of the wave of the future and could help young people with diabetes get used to treating the disease.